They may not be the most talked about appointments on the 24-hour news’ cycles (or even on your mind after yesterday’s healthcare vote), but President Trump’s nominees to the National Labor Relations Board and the Export-Import Bank will have big impacts on the business community.
In an effort to be glass-half-full, we’ll talk about the good news first, the NLRB board: President Trump has made two nominations to the NLRB board that have a history representing business interests and could be instrumental in rolling back burdensome regulations on businesses that were enacted under the Obama administration.
Last week the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), approved Marvin Kaplan, former counsel to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and William Emmanuel, a labor attorney in a 12-11 vote along party lines. If confirmed by the Senate, their confirmations would make the NLRB board more equitable and would represent business interest more fairly.
In the last few years the board has advanced a number of controversial, anti-business rulings that the new board could reverse, including:
- A ruling that gives graduate students at private universities the right to join a union,
- A ruling that helps small groups of workers form a union within a larger company,
- A ruling that holds franchises liable for labor violations committed by franchisees and sub-contractors,
- And rules that speed-up the timetable for unionization votes.
These reversals would be positive steps for the business community and would bring more balance to interests of employers and employees, and would not be overly-weighted in favor of unions.
In the first seven months of his presidency, Trump has also nominated two former Republican Congressmen, Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ) to serve on the Export-Import Bank board, with Garrett serving as president.
The Export-Important Bank, a credit agency that assists in financing exports for U.S. business to help them compete in global markets, has not been fully functioning for more than a year. The Ex-Im bank is critical to businesses large and small here in the Upstate: according to the Ex-Im coalition, the Ex-Im Bank supports more than 2,400 jobs in the Upstate (this does not include GE employees, who also use the bank) and has supported more than $385 thousand in export sales for the Upstate alone. But due to a lack of quorum on the board, the Ex-Im bank has been unable to finance projects over $10 million dollars, which hurts businesses that need access to capital to help export their goods.
As such, the Chamber and business organizations across the country have called on Congress to fill vacancies on the board so it can fully function. But Garrett’s nomination as President of the board has been met with much concern from the business community, and with opposition from many national and state organizations.
While in Congress, Garrett was a founding member of the freedom Congress, and harshly criticized the bank calling it a “corporate welfare program,” “crony capitalism,” and called on the bank to be abolished. There is an intense lobbying effort from national organizations and pressure from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (the Ex-Im Bank actually returns money to the treasury every year) on Trump to withdraw his nomination of Garrett.
Garrett’s nomination is of concern to the Chamber and business community, because businesses here in the Upstate, and across the country, need the bank to be able to compete with other countries, many of whom have similar financing options in their own countries. Garrett could undermine or impose barriers to capital for these businesses.
Senator Lindsey Graham has called Garret’s nomination “problematic,” and said in an interview in May: “You can want to reform the bank, that's OK . . . If you're going to try to be a Trojan horse, try to shut down the bank, you probably won't get confirmed. … I just don't want somebody who doesn't believe in it being chairman of it.”
We at the Chamber have communicated our concern over Garret’s nomination and our support of President’s Trump NLRB appointments to our Senators. For now, a date has not been set for Garrett’s confirmation hearing or for a floor vote on the NLRB picks, but we’ll continue to keep you updated on any progressions.
If approved, these appointments will impact how you do business. Stay tuned.